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The opponents of One Paseo seem to think they speak for the entire Carmel Valley community.
They routinely dismiss supporters of the project for “drinking the Kool Aid,” or they say they aren’t really residents. In fact, many of us who live in the heart of Carmel Valley have watched the process closely and studied the facts carefully – and we agree that the organized opposition’s rhetoric and scare tactics are distasteful. Beyond that, their claims are outright lies.
READ MORE: All the Fuss About One Paseo in One Placeo
Anti-One Paseo group What Price Main Street? has repeated versions of those claims on its website. Let’s look at some examples of their points about One Paseo, and the counter-evidence that lays waste to each:
“Imposes high-density development in Carmel Valley, altering the face of the community and setting a dangerous precedent for new development.”
Higher-density development has been recognized in urban planning studies worldwide as most compliant with infrastructure requirements and environmental standards. It’s low-density development that poses significant challenges to our infrastructure and environment.
One Paseo complies with new standards for livability and density that San Diego called for in its general plan. This beautifully designed project comes with incredible upsides, including considerable upgrades throughout our community – entirely through private investment. If that’s a “dangerous precedent,” we need more “danger” in our lives.
“Violates the community plan by including nearly three times the currently allowed development.”
The real violation is that we are saddled with a community plan that was adopted in the 1970s at peak sprawl. We’ve had four decades of new information regarding the wisdom of those planning decisions, and the consensus is that separating all uses and linking them only by pedestrian- and bike-unfriendly roads is folly. It’s bad for the environment, for our health and for social cohesion. So let’s not pretend that the community plan is sacrosanct.
The ’70s community did not anticipate the significant growth Carmel Valley would face when Millennials – a generation larger than baby-boomers – came of age and started setting up their own homes. It clearly didn’t anticipate that our thriving commercial corridor would need more homes, and that the people in those homes would expect amenities. And as we were in the throes of the Automobile Age and sprawl growth, no one even considered mixing the uses on a plot of land like the One Paseo site.
Does anyone really want the two office towers with surface parking that the ’70s community plan allows? If not, then you can’t simply hide behind the fact One Paseo digresses from the old plan. We should only be asking what is best for this site now, and accommodate the inevitable future growth of the community.
“Nearly quadruples local traffic to 23,850 average daily trips on Carmel Valley’s already congested roads.”
Simple common sense says that these cars are not all driving on our streets at one time. In fact, the mixed-use nature of One Paseo means that trips are spread out through the day. Conversely, the office-only development this land is currently zoned to puts cars on our streets all at once at peak times.
Taken another way, if our roads are already congested as they assert, only with One Paseo will Carmel Valley reap the benefits of a true mixed-use village and state-of-the-art technology to keep traffic flowing.
Moreover, the greater density of One Paseo would finally provide incentive for the expansion of transit to serve our community. In the meantime, the privately funded shuttle to the Coaster station will allow many of us an option we don’t currently have – commuting via mass transit.
“Destroys community character through an array of negative impacts, including 170-foot buildings, severe traffic, unprecedented density and widened roads.”
It’s disingenuous to anyone who knows the One Paseo site and what surrounds it (that is, many large commercial buildings) to say a main street with homes and a significant amount of open space, in addition to reduced-height offices buildings, wouldn’t actually enhance our community character.
There’s nothing that this main street-style center, with nearly all of the parking hidden underground, could do to destroy Carmel Valley’s character that hasn’t been done by the overcrowded eyesore that is Del Mar Highlands Town Center.
Having a place where we could walk or ride our bikes, shop and hang out with neighbors and family makes a lot of sense to me and many, many others in Carmel Valley and residents in nearby communities.
I hope our City Council sees beyond the opponents’ false rhetoric. More than 40,000 people live in Carmel Valley, and many of us aren’t fooled. One Paseo will be a huge improvement to our community.
Politics and hyperbole aside, on balance, Carmel Valley residents understand that growth is inevitable. We treasure our community and want it to succeed. We want a place our grown children warmly return to, and maybe even stay to raise their own families. One Paseo is perfectly suited for our community – and our community is perfectly suited to embrace a quality project like One Paseo.
Antonius Schuh is a Carmel Valley resident and chief executive of a San Diego-based biotech firm. Schuh’s commentary has been edited for style and clarity. See anything in there we should fact check? Tell us what to check out here.